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venerdì 26 luglio 2013
Child Commercial Sex Exploitation
Child commercial sex exploitation is a devastating and pervasive problem. According to World Vision over ten million young children are caught up in the sex industry-prostitution, pornography and sex tourism. UNICEF reports another one million children enter the sex industry each year. These are some of the disturbing statistics that Joseph B. Haggerty Sr., Retired Vice Detective, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington D.C. gave to the audience of the Public Safety Writer’s Association annual conference earlier this month. Haggerty Sr. has interviewed over 5,000 prostitutes and hundreds of pimps. He has learned the culture and the language. He is also the author of Shame: The Story of a Pimp. After his presentation, I felt compelled to follow-up to share how law enforcement officers could learn from his experience and assist in reducing this tragedy.
Haggerty Sr. began with some statistics, “There is an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 children that are reported missing each year. Many return home within a short time period, but too many end up on the street under the watchful and exploitive eye of a pimp. An estimated 30-50% of the women working as prostitutes on the street are under the age of 18. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children the average age of the juvenile prostitute is 14.” Vulnerability is a key factor in the sex trade and children are never willing participants. Pimps seek out runaway and homeless youth. Many children are leaving abusive and traumatic home situations and most head to the nearest city where they will become sex slaves within an average of 30 days. These children are dependent on their pimps to provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and protection. Pimps are experts at isolating them, controlling them and convincing them that the helpers, law enforcement, either work for them or are the bad guys. Victims can be either gender, from the United States or abroad.